Driving Impaired in Arizona

Driving under the influence (DUI) has significant consequences for civilians and service members. Service members face additional consequences because of their military status. Learn about the impact of getting a DUI.

What is a DUI?

Driving under the influence, a DUI, can also be called "driving while intoxicated" or DWI, depending on the state.

According to Arizona state law, a DUI happens when a driver has one or more of the following:
  • Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is at .08% or above, or
  • While under the influence of drugs, or
  • "Impaired to the slightest”.
Driving under the influence
While the limit is .08%, if the driver has a BAC under .08% but above .05%, then this fact may be used along with other evidence to possibly still find the driver guilty of a DUI. (A.R.S. 28-1381(G)(2)) 
For drivers under 21 years of age, any BAC percentage or sign of intoxication is enough for a DUI. In Arizona a DUI is considered a class 1 misdemeanor. (A.R.S. 28-1381(J))

What is a DUI according to the armed forces?

A BAC of .05% is the legal limit in the military, but a reading over .04% can be investigated.Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). 911. Article 111. Drunken or Reckless Driving of the UCMJ says that any service member found to be drinking and driving "shall be punished as a court-martial may direct."

What are the military consequences of a DUI?

A DUI charge will be given to a commanding officer who will decide the seriousness of the situation. They will either assign the case to a military court or to an armed services criminal investigation agency (ex. CID, NCIS). Learn about military courts and their process to understand more.
One of the following could be a consequence for a member of the military receiving a DUI: 
  • Found innocent, so no action taken,
  • Administrative action (example: counseling, involuntary separation,
  • Non-judicial punishment,
  • Send the case for court-martial, or
  • Issue an Article 15.

What if I got a DUI off base?

Service members that are convicted of a DUI off of a military base face the same consequences as a civilian and could have more consequences from the military:
  • A demotion, 
  • A letter of reprimand, 
  • Cancellation of pass privileges, 
  • Forfeiture pay, 
  • Mandatory referral to a military substance abuse program, or
  • Bar to reenlistment.
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While the military may not bring charges in military court, the commanding officer may still decide that military charges or actions are necessary.
It is important to remember that state law and military law are different. Service members may be court-martialed for a DUI, even after actions have been taken by the state.

Can a civilian get a DUI on a military base?

Yes, civilians can receive a DUI on a military base. Getting a DUI on a military base as a civilian is considered a federal offense 32 CFR §153. These cases are prosecuted in a United States Federal Court location by a U.S. Attorney.
While military police and civilian police are not the same, military police have the same authority as civilian police. They may stop cars if there is probable cause, perform a sobriety test, and arrest drivers who are suspected of driving under the influence.
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Civilians who work on base may be fired from their job immediately if they recieve a DUI on base.

Are there any special considerations for veterans who get a DUI?

It depends on where the DUI occured. Some courts hold Veterans’ Court for veterans that have criminal misdemeanor charges, like a DUI. Those that participate in Veterans’ Court and complete the program, may see reductions in fines and jail time. It is important to remember that statutory rules, like the minimum one-day jail sentence are mandatory. Veterans who are VA eligible may receive help with the cost of the treatment program.
Some courts can provide help through programs for veterans who are not VA eligible. Many veterans have found Veterans’ Court to be an invaluable experience that changed the course of their lives.

See more on Veterans' Court in Arizona.

This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.

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